Introduction: Buccaneer Keyboard

Christened the Buccaneer , this is our take on a Steampunk Keyboard design - essentially a mechanical computer keyboard that has been modified to resemble an old world aesthetic. The project was inspired by the Steampunk Keyboard created by Jake Von Slatt .

A few more photos of the completed Buccaneer Keyboard can be found on

And, just to show it is a fully functional keyboard, see it in action in the video below!

We hope you enjoy our build log!

Step 1: Making the Keys

The keyboard began as a Das Model S Ultimate , chosen for its distinctive sound and suitability for our design. The first part of its conversion was to make the brass keys. The plastic keys were popped off the Das , then snipped down with tin snips so that just the stem remained.

Next we cut brass tubing down to size with a chopsaw , while sanding a rim on the end after every cut. The rim was added so that the keys closer resembled that of a typewriter, and to get rid of the saw marks the chopsaw left.

Oak doweling was then cut to length, and the bottom drilled so that the key stems could be slotted into the dowels and glued in place. The doweling was adhered into the brass tubing, filling the hole.

The lettering was designed on the computer, printed off, and then punched out with a hole punch . Protective plastic end caps were also punched out. Both were then inserted to give a completed key.

Step 2: The Leather Faceplate

Plans for the keyboard were roughed out then designed to scale in a graphics program, and finally printed onto a large A3 template.

Next up was the faceplate. Measurements were transferred from the template to a panel of high quality birch plywood, and drilled with a drill press so that it would slot down neatly over the keys. There was not a lot of room for error here, as if the holes were out the keys would not slide up and down freely.

With that done, the hand-tooled genuine leather (made for us by a local craftsman) was attached to the birch ply and then punched through from the back using the drill holes as a guide, so that we had perfectly matching holes in both the leather and the ply underneath.

Step 3: Creating the Side Pieces

The sides were cut to shape with a scroll saw , with one of the sides needing a hole cut into it so the USB ports can be accessed. After cutting, the wood and brass were sanded and filed.

For the front and back supports a piece of wood was hand planed with a curve to match the shape of the side pieces. A sensible person would have bought, borrowed, or stolen a router for this one! After that all the wood was stained and waxed.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

A brass cover was cut and drilled to slot over the vintage rhinestones and hold them in place. The picture to the right is of an unused earlier design being cut with the scroll saw .

We wanted to include an engraved name plaque on the keyboard but lacked engraving tools , so we decided to make our own out of a screwdriver by angle grinding and filing it to shape. When the engraving was complete, the plaque was cut from the brass sheet and inlaid into a chiselled out space on the wooden front support.

The final stage was to make a wooden tray for the Das ' controller and main boards to sit inside, and secure it with brass screws to the front, back and side pieces, with the faceplate on top.

With this done the keyboard was complete!